The Greatest Poet Of Ancient Mexico Essay

The Greatest Poet Of Ancient Mexico Essay

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Nezahualcoyotl (Hungry Coyote) born in 1402 in Texcoco, was considered the greatest poet of ancient Mexico. He was the ruler of the city-state of Texcoco, which together with the city-states of Tenochtitlan and Tlacopan made up the Aztec Empire. The Aztec Empire ruled the Valley of Mexico for 93 years (1428-1521) until Hernan Cortes’s Spanish conquistadores and his native allies defeated it. The Aztecs controlled almost all of central Mexico, except the Tlaxcalteca kingdom. However, Nezahualcoyotl was not an Aztec; his people were the Alcohuans, one of the northern tribes that migrated into the Valley of Mexico. After becoming the ruler of his homeland, his talents and vision of the city flourished and Texcoco became the center of the empire. Not only was he a great lyric poet, but was also well known as an architect, engineer, reluctant warrior, philosopher, and city planner. As a king, Nezahualcoyotl created some of the most famous Aztec achievements and established various cultural institutions such as a library of hieroglyphic books, a zoological garden-arboretum, and a self-governing academy of scholars and poets. In Texcoco, he built temples, created an extensive irrigation system to supply his hot tubs at Texcotzingo, as well as to water zoological and botanical gardens. He even provided Aztec kings with advice on the construction of the aqueducts running water to the center of Tenochtitlan, the great places, and the dike running across the lake that enabled them to control water levels when it flooded. He guided Texcoco out of foreign domination, and transformed it into a wellspring of art and culture.
Aside from all of his accomplishments, Nezahualcoyotl was a promoter of the arts and is best known for his poetry. He p...


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...re in various ways, especially through his poetry. Just like the Aztecs, he wrote flower and song poetry that kept close rhythms and patterns of speech. Their poetics included the repetition of ideas in couplets or parallel form, a tendency to speak in metaphors, and the use of repeating synonyms and metonyms. The themes of flower songs were put together in endless variations: meditations on the meaning of life and death, on the pleasures of living and loving, on friendship, on relations between the poet and the deity; lamentations on the brevity of life and fame; elegies on poetry; memorials to great leaders; celebrations of cities and the people; or verses on the ecstasies of singing and war. Nezahualcoyotl is the only pre-Spanish figure to appear on Mexican money. Nezahualcoyotl died on June 4, 1472, survived by many concubines and an estimated 110 children.

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